50 OVER 50 PROJECT FOR 2021

36

Beth Landes

Age: 55

Contracts Management Analyst

"I've learned not to hesitate to redesign myself - FOR myself. Not being overly impressionable or paring down who I am for others, but also remaining teachable and malleable so I'm evolving as a person with depth and breadth..."

Beth Landes

What is the best thing about being your age?

The best thing about being in my 50's is I'm living what was modeled to me by the wonderful women who raised me. The major decisions of life are behind me, I know who I am and I'm comfortable with me.

What hardships have you endured that you feel have made you stronger?

At the risk of being overly dramatic, there are too many to recount! What shaped me the most was experiencing loss. My story was the people I loved, left. My reaction was to become extraordinarily self reliant; but inwardly, emotionally dependent. I spent what might have been the best years of my youth chasing something I couldn't even name. That took me through countless horrors but eventually led to countless hours of therapy and self help groups where I found my tribe, and I began to learn what it means to be alive.

A wise sage once asked me: When are you going to put down your story? Acknowledge the past then take responsibility for yourself. Instead of living a life of reaction, I learned (am learning) to live a life of thoughtful, heartfelt action. Now I know in my soul the more I let go, the more I gain; and the more vulnerable I become, the stronger I feel.

What's your favorite thing you have checked off your bucket list?

Jumping out of a redwood tree as part of a ropes course and being at the top of a 105' fire rig ladder in 4" spike heeled boots, getting a 360° view of Live Oak.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Contentment with the here and now. Like Saturdays starting with my sweetie's coffee, bopping around doing this and that (like walking the dogs) with no schedule, noshing lightly then popcorn for dinner. Peppered by texts with my family and my girlfriends.

what is your greatest extravagance?

Caramel sweet cream cold brew. Every day, if I want it. And more often than not, I do!

What is your most treasured possession? The quilt my Mama (grandmother) made for me that includes patches from the first dress she made for herself at age 9, and from the bed sheets of my childhood. And, the silver cuff storyboard bracelet my Dad Tom wore every day, which he took off one day and handed to me, years before he died because he wanted to enjoy me wearing it.

what do you consider your greatest achievement?

Here I go sounding dramatic again, but there are several! Knowing myself. Spearheading historical projects in emergency management response. Building a community of uniquely special people. Finding love in partnership where we're evenly matched. And raising two fabulously special kids who have me in awe at getting to be a part of their lives.

What is a trait you are most proud of?

Loving people in a way that they KNOW they are loved.

What do you most value in your friends?

Warmth that comes from deep within their spirit. The way it's like a cozy blanket to wrap up in, just being with them. And honesty - tell it like it is.

What is your motto or favorite quote?

Consult your head but don't live there, then follow your heart. Stay green and growing. Share a smile and hugs, have compassion and remember we are all one. What advice would you give your younger self?

Honesty is sexy. Being a partner isn't 50/50. Let the good looking person interested in you buy you a drink. (Triple shot medium nonfat caramel latte, extra hot!) You're never alone. Take time to enjoy solitude.

Words of wisdom for younger women

I've learned no relationship "fails" – they're all part of weaving the tapestry of a life. I don't regret much, I make amends when I do, and shut the hell up once in a while. The path becomes more clear when I'm honest, open minded and willing. And nothing that's happened is over, because it all lives within me and I carry the lessons – and the love – with me still.

Additional thoughts...

I've learned not to hesitate to redesign myself - FOR myself. Not being overly impressionable or paring down who I am for others, but also remaining teachable and malleable so I'm evolving as a person with depth and breadth. Blending what's perceived as "feminine" and "masculine" as my self perception changes has provided a wider range of self expression. I own it all, and encourage others to as well.

Beth Landes
Beth Landes